Transmission problems

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  #1  
Old 06-22-14, 07:07 PM
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Transmission problems

2000 Dodge Ram Van, 5.2, 3 speed automatic transmission, doesn't go into 3rd gear, most of the time. There are about 115,000 miles, on the vehicle. The fluid is red & does not smell burnt. Is there any chance that I can avoid replacing it. I've done a lot of mechanical work but never rebuilt transmissions.

The check engine light isn't on, so I doubt it's a sensor. I've been told not to waste time changing the fluid & the filter. A knowledgeable friend recommends two local transmission places with the idea that they might find a way to fix it, without replacing it. Auto Zone has a rebuilt for $1,600.00 with a 3 year warranty. I doubt a transmission shop would give me a 3 year warranty. A mechanic who works out of his house will install it for $325.00. The same friend doesn't like the Auto Zone idea. What do you guys say?

Edit: I forgot to mention the junk yard option. That is buying a transmission from a junk yard.
 

Last edited by Pulpo; 06-22-14 at 07:31 PM.
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  #2  
Old 06-22-14, 07:47 PM
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Governor??

RR

Won't send because the message is too short. Maybe it will be long enough now.
 
  #3  
Old 06-22-14, 08:00 PM
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Buying a transmission from a junk yard is the last thing I would ever do, think about it, you would be buying possibly the same issues or worse after all it is in the junk yard. A rebuilt for $1600 isn't all that bad and $325 to install it is a bargain if you know it will be done correctly. You might look into having a good shop do some trouble shooting first it could save you a lot of money if it turns out to be something small in nature. I would suspect a shift solenoid on the valve body that has gone bad which would definitely be a more affordable and relatively easier fix.
 
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Old 06-22-14, 08:13 PM
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A shift solenoid sounds good to me. How do I determine if that's the problem?

Edit: The same question for the governor? ^^
 
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Old 06-22-14, 08:22 PM
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Again, you might look into having a good shop do the trouble shooting to narrow down the problem or get a manual for that transmission it should have diagnosing information. There are several solenoids in the newer transmissions my (Ford Ranger has 6) that all do different things and they are not real hard to change but you don't want to blindly start buying them, have it diagnosed if at all possible.
 
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Old 06-22-14, 08:36 PM
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You will need a repair manual for the particular transmission, a set of pressure gages, and the knowledge to use them. There are several places on a transmission that are plugged (usually 1/8" pipe plug) that allow access to oil circuits for pressure checks.
Your stated intermittent 3'rd gear engagement point to a failing governor or a leaking valve body. Electronic transmissions and their multiple solenoids are another source of failures.
If you have a shop that will do diagnosis (without removal and teardown) for you, that would be a good choice.
Best of luck!!

RR
 
  #7  
Old 06-23-14, 03:54 AM
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1998 Dodge 1500 Transmission Wont Shift Fix - YouTube

I just found that video. What do you think?
 
  #8  
Old 06-23-14, 04:10 AM
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If I get near my favorite tranny shop today, I'll run the symptoms by him for possible common failure issues.

I echo Ron's thoughts on used trannies.

I don't have any experience with AutoZone remann's; but $1600 for a 3 year warrantied one sounds pretty attractive.
 
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Old 06-23-14, 05:09 AM
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Yes on my 96 chevy I changed both solenoids. Although mine are far easier to do. ( Had to cause I broke one changing the fluid..LOL)

My solenoids were about 35 bucks each.. Not recommended to only change one. Your in there do them both...
 
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Old 06-23-14, 02:52 PM
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Stopped in to see my tranny guy today. Didn't have any common issues that he recalls as far as failure modes. Among other things he said the 3 speed tranny is not very common; usually seen in fleet vehicles because it is cheaper than the 4 speed. Also said because of this, finding a decent one in a junkyard would probably be difficult. I mentioned the AutoZone option and price and he was a bit surprised at the price and suggested perhaps they gave you a price on the 4 speed by mistake, as the 3 speed is not an expensive unit. He said he would do those all day long out the door for $1200.
 
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Old 06-23-14, 02:57 PM
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Just did a lookup on AutoZone site and that $1599 tranny is identified as a 46RE. Further surfing tells me that's a 4 speed overdrive, not a 3 speed.
 
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Old 06-23-14, 03:23 PM
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Ya, forget the junk yard and AutoZone ideas. Either way, you'll be eating the labor costs if you get a bad trans. This, and possible costs of having to have it towed, rules both ideas out imo.

I'd follow the previous advice of trying to troubleshoot it yourself and/or having a reputable trans shop look at it. Sometimes you or they can get away with changing the solenoids and/or the valve body.
 
  #13  
Old 06-23-14, 05:22 PM
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I know a woman who is a good mechanic in her own right & she recommended someone who has done business with her. I spoke to the guy today & we discussed all that technical mumbo jumbo. Since there are no codes, it leads him to believe that the problem is internal to the transmission. After more research, I believe that the transmission is in limp mode.

His price for a rebuilt is $1,200.00. I won't find that anywhere else. He seems honest & definitely knows the business. I didn't have time to take it to him today. I'll try to bring the van there tomorrow or have it towed. Thanks for all the responses.
 
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Old 06-23-14, 05:37 PM
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doesn't go into 3rd gear, most of the time.
Dont know why you would spend that money when it seems its the selonoids. My truck did the same thing like I said. It only had 2nd gear I think and overdrive... It was limp mode.. no reverse too.

I drove it to a reputable aamco that my buddy works and they dropped the pan, 2 selonoids, and added fluid for less then two hundred..

Just saying is all.

But...

Since there are no codes,
Mine did throw a code after I broke the selonid.

Oh did you read the comments in that video you posted? Seems like additional info is there...



I know a woman who is a good mechanic

Wish my wife would learn to change the oil.. That would be great...LOL She only lets me know when red dash lights come on, and when there are strange noises...
 
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Old 06-23-14, 06:38 PM
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Yes, I originally thought that is was a 3rd gear problem. I drove it again this morning & it seemed to be in limp mode. Limp mode is when it stays in one gear. If solenoids throw a code & there is no code, how can it be a solenoid? I'll tell the guy to check it out & call me with what he found before he starts the job.
 
  #16  
Old 06-23-14, 07:03 PM
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I have learned not to live and die by "codes", for example when my Ranger fouled a plug the first time it threw a code but it again fouled the same plug the following year but this time no code. My F-150 had a COP go bad 2 years ago again no code and just this January I had another COP fail with no code again even though it ran bad enough to know something was wrong. Codes are great and I wish they had one for everything that could possibly go wrong but it just doesn't seem to work that way all the time.
 
  #17  
Old 06-23-14, 07:08 PM
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I have to put some faith in the codes, even though I'm not making them God. There is always an exception to any rule.
 
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Old 06-24-14, 04:14 AM
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Sorry, forgot to include this in my post yesterday. My tranny guru said that tranny will not throw codes for failure; something to do with the non-electronic nature of the model.

Not positive, but I doubt a limp mode would involve 3rd (high) gear. More likely, if it had a limp mode, would be 2nd gear.

That $1200 quote tracks exactly with what I got here (of course the tow to your local shop will be a bit less ).

Keep us posted on how it turns out.
 
  #19  
Old 06-24-14, 04:46 AM
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Thanks for asking. That matches what I've been told on this end. The price must be good since it's the same even with your discount included. Maybe by some chance & can be repaired instead of replaced.
 
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